Angry residents have claimed illegal dumping in the Illawarra could be a product of exorbitant tip fees, leaving some people no choice but to abandon their rubbish on the side of the road.
Dozens of frustrated readers have taken to the Illawarra Mercury’s website to slam Wollongong and Shellharbour councils’ rubbish policies, labelling hefty tip costs a ‘‘greedy grab for cash’’.
Wollongong City Council’s Whytes Gully tip – the only one operating in the LGA since the closure of the Helensburgh facility last year – charges a minimum $32 for less than 100 kilograms.
For garden and wood waste, residents are charged $9.50 per load while mattresses cost $24 each to dump.
Shellharbour council’s Dunmore depot charges small vehicles $19 per load while utes and trailers are slugged $94 for unsorted waste and $75 for a sorted load.
A small ute-load of garden waste costs residents $22 while dumping a car tyre incurs an $11.50 fee.
Shellharbour residents are charged $60 to dump a television and up to $40 for a computer.
Wollongong council offers free recycling for suitable TVs and computers.
Despite a regional approach targeting illegal dumping, many readers claimed dodgy dumping would continue if the councils did not address the high tip fees.
One reader, Pegasus, wrote: ‘‘When you are charged $32 just to dispose of a few boxes at the local tip, it is a wonder there isn’t more illegal dumping than there is. Council must share some of the blame for their greedy grab for cash.’’
Writer PChallenged posted: ‘‘I don’t know about Wollongong but Shellharbour is nothing more than an extortionist’s dream. Yes green waste is cheap and I have no complaints about paying to dump waste [but] we have had at least three price hikes in two years, no wonder people dump it in the streets and parks. Where does our money go, not into recycling that’s for sure.’’
Concerned local wrote: ‘‘People wouldn’t ‘dump’ if tip fees weren’t so high and [tips were] open more often. Whatever happened to council holding a free pick-up day too? Surely the cost of those (running the dump more, reducing fees and free pick-ups) would be cheaper than clearing out illegal dumped rubbish all the time.’’
A Wollongong City Council spokesperson said the council’s waste disposal gate fee was on par with a random selection of other councils and privately operated waste facilities.
She noted the council received less than a third of the fees from Whytes Gully as GST, the federal government’s price on carbon emissions and the state government’s waste levy accounted for over two-thirds of the costs.
The spokesperson said the council provided domestic waste collections, and promoted the responsible disposal of waste through programs such as the on-call household clean-up service and fridge buyback scheme.
A Shellharbour council spokeswoman said fees at the Dunmore tip were set in response to the recovery of running costs of the facility and relevant state and federal levies.
She said the council provided subsidised kerbside collection services of up to 200 kilograms of waste per pick-up to residents.
The council also provides free programs to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.